Air pollution and stroke... What is the relationship between them?

4 October, 2022
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Air pollution and stroke... What is the relationship between them?

A recent study reported that exceeding the exposure limit for air pollution, recommended by the World Health Organization, can lead to an increased risk of a first stroke.


Hualiang Lin at Sun Yat-sen University in China and colleagues wanted to understand the risk of air pollution among people without a history of stroke.


The study, published in the journal Neurology, said: 'We found that higher levels of air pollution were associated with increased risks of transition from health to first stroke, post-stroke cardiovascular events, and death, but with a stronger effect on the transition from healthy to stroke. cerebral." "These findings suggest that understanding and minimizing the effects of air pollutants on the different transition stages in stroke will be useful in managing people's health and preventing stroke and its development," Lin added.


The study included 318,752 people in the UK Biobank database with an average age of 56 years. The participants had no history of stroke or heart disease at the start of the study.


The researchers looked at people's exposure to air pollution based on where they lived at the start of the study. Participants were followed for an average of 12 years.


During that time, 5,967 people had a stroke. Of these, 2,985 people developed cardiovascular disease, and 1,020 died later. Those exposed to high levels of air pollution were more likely to have a first stroke, post-stroke cardiovascular disease, or death than those who were not exposed to high levels of pollution.


After adjusting for other factors that could play a role, such as smoking and level of physical activity, the researchers found that for every 5 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) increase in fine particles, for example, the risk of switching from healthy to stroke increased. A first brain injury increased by 24%, and the risk of transition from health to death increased by 30%.


Particles are composed of liquids or solids suspended in the air. PM2.5 is fine particulate matter, less than 2.5 microns in diameter and includes coal combustion fly ash.

Those who had a stroke during the study had an average exposure of 10.03 mcg/m3 of PM2.5, compared to 9.97 mcg/m3 for those who did not have a stroke.


The researchers also found that pollutants, such as nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide, were linked to an increased risk of stroke and death. Lin revealed: "More research is needed, but it is possible that reducing exposure to high levels of air pollution may play a role in reducing the development of stroke. People can reduce their exposure by staying indoors on heavy polluted days, and reducing outdoor exercise. wear masks to filter particulates and use air purifiers.


Lin pointed out that the results do not prove that air pollution causes stroke, cardiovascular disease or death, but only show an association


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